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Kara no Kyoukai: Garden of Sinners

Adapted from a light novel series, Kara no Kyoukai is a series of seven movies (yeap, actual movies, shown in theater) of urban fantasy mystery cases set in the 90s and told in anachronical way, revolving around Shiki, a young woman who dresses in a kimono and red leather jacket and can kill pretty much anything. Telling more about the story would spoil most of the fun which is trying to determine what the fuck is happening; especially due to the anachronical part and general lack of exposition.

Kara no Kyoukai is mostly worth watching for its mesmerizing beauty, with gorgeous action scenes and entrancing atmosphere. It is not much worth watching for its plot, asides from the middle 5th movie.

Visually, with movie level production values, the series is simply gorgeous. The animation is fluid, the action scenes are stunning; the direction takes care to set up the urban, gloomy and mysterious atmosphere wonderfully with a slow pacing. The visuals are glossy and filled with light effects, and often play up contrasting effects between red and green or orange and blue colourings in interesting fashion. The soundtrack is done by Yuki Kajiura who sets up a dreamlike and hypnotic tone as usual which fits the story perfectly.

The characters are intriguing enough. Shiki is a pretty mysterious, stoic, acerbic and nearly sociopathic protagonist. Mikiya Kokuto is her school friend and the closest we have to a viewpoint character; he's a compationate and sensible young man. They both work for Touko, another mysterious, snarky and laid back witch; who I especially found myself enjoying. There's a variety of reasonably interesting characters in each movie.

Each story is fairly gruesome and often creepy in interesting ways; though they are also fairly straightforward in a way that make me doubt they'd be all that intriguing but not for the anachronical fashion that they are told. The exception being the fifth movie, Paradox Spiral, which I found to be a brilliant mindfuck and much more compelling and poignant story. Sadly the last movie especially left me with a sense of 'that's all there is to it?' with a certain annoyance.

Thematically, it mostly missed for me. There's some intriguing dialogues that set up ambiguous feelings very well; but which I ended doubting the real depth in the end. There's a lot of discussions about the desire to kill and what underpines it. It's fun enough.

Very enjoyable set of urban fantasy / horror movies overall; though it misses brilliance by a small margin in a way that is almost disapointing.
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Etrangere's anime reviews

September 2011

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Currently watching

- Legend of Galactic Heroes
- Katanagari
- Uraboku
- Senkou no Night Raid
- Madlax
- Welcome to the NHK
- Now and Then, Here and There
- Kaze no Yojimbo
- Arigatou Ghost Slayer Arashi
- Kara no Kyoukai
- Occult Academy
- Shiki
- Legend of Legendary Heroes


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